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Moscow Court Rejects Election Monitor's Appeal


Liliya Shibanova, the director of the Russian election watchdog Golos (file photo)

Liliya Shibanova, the director of the Russian election watchdog Golos (file photo)

A Moscow court has rejected an appeal by Russia's independent election monitor Golos against the hefty fine imposed on the group under controversial new legislation.

On June 14, the court upheld the fine imposed last month by an administrative court.

In April, Golos was fined 300,000 rubles (about $9,500) under a new law requiring all nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that receive foreign funding and engage in political activity to register as "foreign agents."

It was the first NGO to be fined under the law, which critics say is part of a crackdown on civil society.

Golos director Lilia Shibanova was fined 100,000 rubles (about $3,150).

The group insists it stopped receiving foreign funds after the law went into effect in November 2012.

It says it is being targeted for uncovering widespread violations in recent elections.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on June 14 a controversial law on NGOs could be "improved."

Putin said that the law's application must be analyzed, and it could be altered so that "it doesn't get in anyone's way."

Putin said the law was "significantly more liberal" than similar legislation in a number of Western countries, including the United States.

His comments came at the G20 Civic Summit, a meeting of civil society activists, union and business representatives from the Group of 20 leading industrial nations, which Russia chairs this year.

Based on reporting by Interfax, ITAR-TASS, and AP
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